Football News

Eden Hazard: Callum Hudson-Odoi is ready to be a Premier League starter for Chelsea

By William Eldridge

Published: 16:46, 5 April 2019

Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard has jokingly suggested that he was better than Blues teammate Callum Hudson-Odoi when he was the teenager’s age.

The Blues pair played starring roles on Wednesday night as Maurizio Sarri’s side defeated Brighton & Hove Albion 3-0 to keep their top-four ambitions alive.

Hudson-Odoi has a way to go: Five things you need to know…

  1. Hudson-Odoi broke through into the Chelsea first-team ranks following a successful pre-season.
  2. He made his first start for the club in the club’s 2-0 FA Community Shield defeat against Manchester City.
  3. This season, Hudson-Odoi has made just seven Premier League appearances but has scored four goals in eight Europa League outings.
  4. Despite the lack of playing time, Hudson-Odoi was called up to the England squad and made his senior debut last month.
  5. Both Hudson Odoi and Hazard face uncertain futures at Chelsea with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid reported to be interested.

Speaking to reporters about Hudson-Odoi’s development, Hazard joked that the Englishman isn’t as good as he was as an 18-year-old.

The Belgian said: “[I was] better I think!”

Taking a more serious tone, Hazard continued: “I don’t need to talk. If he wants to ask me something, I will tell him, no problem, but he is a great player already. I am not surprised.

“Since day one he trained with us, he had great skills. If he wants advice, I can teach him, but you know he has everything already. I think the guy was waiting to start a game in the Premier League, but he is ready. You can see the way he is taking the ball. He is playing with a lot of confidence.

“He is still young and can improve, of course, but he is already very good. I think he was happy to play today. You know when you are young you just play, and sometimes you try and miss, but the good thing is to give freshness in the team.

“I think Callum can play three games. He can run, he has the legs for 90 minutes. At 28 we are a bit tired at the end, but I think he is still young. As I said, he can still improve but he is in a good team to learn, and we are happy to help him.”

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Hudson-Odoi’s mixed year with Sarri

Despite the evidence that Hudson-Odoi is an extremely talented young footballer, one man who has failed to utilise the winger is Chelsea boss Sarri. The Italian has barely given Hudson-Odoi a look-in this season in the Premier League despite his call-up to the senior England squad.

The 18-year-old has recently been given glimpses of hope, starting three of the last four league fixtures as the Blues aim for a top-four finish.

Hudson-Odoi managed to get an assist in Chelsea’s 3-0 smashing of Brighton on Wednesday, with his all-round play fairly impressive throughout the fixture.

It remains to be seen who will last longer at the club. However, if given the choice between Sarri and Hudson-Odoi, few would support the manager.